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Beaulieu-sur-Mer (Municipality, Alpes-Maritimes, France)

Last modified: 2022-09-01 by ivan sache
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Flag of Beaulieu-sur-Mer - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 1 November 2018

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Presentation of Beaulieu-sur-Mer

The municipality of Beaulieu-sur-Mer (3,726 inhabitants - Berlugans - in 2015; 92 ha, therefore the smallest municipality in the department of Alpes-Maritimes by its area; municipal website) is located on the French Riviera, 10 km east of Nice and 10 km west of Monaco. With Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu forms the Golden Triangle of the French Riviera, the area where property prices are the highest in France.

Beaulieu was already settled in the Prehistoric times, as evidenced by an archeological site excavated in 1872 during the building of the Lower Coast road. The Ligurians probably established there a port and counter named Anao, subsequently settled by the Romans; a Gallo-Roman and Paleochristian necropolis was excavated in 1960, yielding 145 tombs and significant funerary furniture.
In the Middle Ages, the village of Olivo emerged around the chapel dedicated to St. Mary of the Olive, built in the 11th century on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman temple.
Subsequently known by its Italian name, Belloloco (lit., "a nice place"), the town was renamed to Beaulieu after the incorporation of the County of Nice to France in 1860. The building of the road (1861) and of the railway (1864) connecting Nice to Italy boosted the development of Beaulieu as a sea resort.

In 1886, a petition was tabled to obtain the separation of Beaulieu from the municipality of Villefranche-sur-Mer, to no avail. The request was supported by local notables, led by Viscount François de May (d. 1904; Mayor of Beaulieu from 1900 to 1904). Born from an old family from Nice, the viscount gained support from the lawyer Alfred Borriglione (1841-1902). A very popular Mayor of Nice (1878-1886), also General Councillor (1871-1902), Representative (1876-1894) and Senator (1894-1902) from the Alpes-Maritimes, Borriglione was also the founder (1879) and director of the daily Le Petit Niçois.
A second petition was tabled on 31 May 1888. On 10 August 1888, Arsène Henry, préfet of the departement of Alpes-Maritimes, announced the election in Beaulieu of a three-member syndical commission; on 2 September, François de May, Joseph Brès and Adrien Riccobono received 62 votes while the list opposed to the separation received only 23 votes. In a report dated 14 November 1888, the commission recommended the separation. So did the General Council of Alpes-Maritimes on 24 August 1889. The objection issued in 1890 did not stop the separation process.
On 31 January 1891, the Chamber of Representatives passed the Bill "on distraction of the hamlet of Beaulieu from the municipality of Villefranche". Ratified on 18 July 1891 by the Senate, the law "distracting from the municipality of Villefranche ... the section of Beaulieu to erect it a distinct municipality" was promulgated by the President of the Republic, Sadi Carnot (1837-1894; in office, 1887-1894).

In the first municipal elections, held on 20 September 1891, the list led by Hippolyte Marinoni (1823-1901), the affluent director of the Petit Journal in Paris since 1882 and one of the inventors of modern press, won all the votes. Not interested in politics, Marinoni resigned 19 days later but never stopped funding social and public works in Beaulieu.
Officially renamed to Beaulieu-sur-Mer in 1908, the town became one of the preferred vacation places of royalties, industrialists and artists. Hotel Bristol, built in 1898-1911 by the Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling (1857-1920; designer of several hotels and villas in the French Riviera) for the business magnate Sir John Blundell Maple (1845-1903), was equipped with bathrooms supplied with heated sea water. It was the winter vacation place of Margherita of Savoy (1851-1926; Queen consort of Italy, 1878-1900), of Crown Princes Alexander of Serbia (1888-1934; Crown Prince from 1909 to 1921, then King of Yugoslavia until his death), of Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Oldenburg (1838-1900) and of the Duchess of Aosta (Hélène of Orléans, 1871-1951). Blundell Maple established in 1899 the Beaulieu Lawn Tennis Club; in 1921, a match opposing the "Divine" Suzanne Lenglen (1899-1938) to Elizabeth Ryan (1892-1979) was organized there; King Gustav V of Sweden (1858-1950; crowned in 1907) was a daily user of the courts in winter 1947-1948.
Hotel La Réserve, built in 1880 by Pierre Lautier as a fish restaurant, was named for its fish tanks. Auguste Maïcon (1891-1974), pioneer of aviation, had a wharf built to transport his wealthy customers on his hydroplane. James Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841-1918; publisher of the New York Herald) established a service of mail coach between the hotel and Nice, and the first telephone line (numbered "01") in Beaulieu. The books of accounts of La Réserve lists Mistinguett, Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Thomas Lipton, Paul Newman, Walt Disney and Robert Redford among its customers.

The Villa Kérylos (in ancient Greek, "a see swallow") was erected on a rocky promontory limiting Baie des Fourmis in Beaulieu by the architect Emmanuel Pontremoli, hired by the archeologist and politician Théodore Reinach.
Built between 1902 and 1908, the villa was modeled on the noble mansions erected in the 2nd century BC on the Greek island of Delos. The two builders did not intend to propose a pastiche of an ancient house but aimed at creating an original design whilst "thinking Greek". The villa is organized around a peristyle delimited by 12 columns. The ceremonial rooms (lounges, dining room, library, baths) are on the first floor, while the private rooms (bedrooms and bathrooms) are on the second floor. The most precious material was used: Carrara marble for the columns and exotic wood for furniture. The rooms were decorated with mosaic and frescoes featuring antique gods and heroes.
Equipped with modern comfort devices, the Villa Kérylos was used by Reinach as a family, vacation house. He bequeathed the villa to the Institut de France, provided his family could still live in the villa, which they did until 1966, when the villa was registered as an Historical Monument (website).

Théodore Reinach (1860-1920) was the youngest of the three Reinach brothers, born from a Jewish family of German origin and nicknamed by the humorists of the time "frères Je Sais Tout" - I Know All Brothers, for the initials of their surnames; Joseph, Salomon and Théodore.
Joseph Reinach (1856-1921), a journalist and politician (Representative in 1889-1898 and 1906-1914; Mayor of Digne in 1919-1921), was a fierce defender of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (Histoire de l'Affaire Dreyfus, 6 volumes, 1901) and one of the founders of the Ligue des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen
. Salomon Reinach (1858-1932), an archeologist and a polygrapher, was Curator of the Musée des antiquités nationales in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Professor of Art History at École du Louvre. His anthropological approach of the history of the religions and his rejection of the literal reading of Biblical texts was bitterly criticized by the Catholic conservative movement.

Théodore Reinach is one of the founders of modern Hellenism. A specialist of Greek inscriptions, he redacted the epigraphic bulletin of the Revue des Études grecques, which he founded in 1888, for 17 years and edited, with Rudolphe Dareste de la Chavanne (1824-1911) and Bernard Haussoullier (1853-1926), the Recueil des Inscriptions juridiques grecques (1892-1904). He was also a main member of the Commission for the Delos Inscriptions. He translated and commented several texts by Sappho and Alcaeus of Mytilene, Timotheos, Herodas and Callimachus, and the Cyrene Ptolemaic charter (La charte ptolémaïque de Cyrène, Revue archéologique, 26, 1-32, 1927).
Reinach was also interested in ancient Greek music (La musique grecque, 1926). He translated Plutarch's treatise with Henri Weil and contributed the entries "Lyra" and "Tibia" to the Dictionnaire des Antiquités. He also reconstituted the score of the Apollo anthems, newly found in Delphi, and had them performed in Paris (Le second hymne delphique à Apollon, 1897).
As a numismatist, Reinach studied the monetary history of the Jews; in Numismatique ancienne; trois royaumes de l'Asie Mineure, Cappadoce--Bithynie--Pont (1888), he proposed a reconstitution of the dynasties of Bithynia, Pontus and Cappadocia based on coins minted there. He gave several lectures at the Sorbonne university on "history through coins" (L'histoire par les monnaies : essais de numismatique ancienne, 1902) and was appointed Professor at the College de France.
[Gustave Glotz. 1928. Éloge funèbre de M. Théodore Reinach, membre de l'Académie. Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 72, 321-326]

The architect Emmanuel Pontremoli (1865-1956) worked on several ancient Greek archeological sites (Delphi, Pergamon, Didyma). His plates Pergame, restauration et description des monuments de l'Acropole were awarded the Grand Prize of Architecture at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. Pontremoli served as the Chief Architect of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and was appointed Director of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (1934-1938). He also designed the building of the Institute of Human Paleontology established by Prince Albert I (1848-1922) in Monaco in 1910.
[Arnaud Hurel & Alain Dubourg. 2007.Un programme novateur : l'institut de paléontologie humaine d'Emmanuel Pontremoli. Livraisons d'histoire de l'architecture, 13, 51-64]

Ivan Sache, 1 November 2018

Flag of Beaulieu-sur-Mer

The flag of Beaulieu-sur-Mer (photo, photo, photo, photo), widely used in the town, is white with the municipal arms, "Per fess, 1. Azure a sun or, 2. Or an olive tree vert fructed sable. The shield surmounted by a mural crown or. Beneath the shield a scroll argent inscribed with the motto 'PAX IN PULCHRITUDINE'".
The olive tree recalls the original name of the place, Olivo. The sun represents the mild, warm local climate. The Latin motto reads "Peace Within Splendor".

Ivan Sache, 22 November 2008

Port de Beaulieu


Flag of Port de Beaulieu - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 November 2018

The marina of Beaulieu-sur-Mer (Port de Beaulieu) was established in 1967 in the Little Africa borough, named for its specific microclimate. The flag of Port de Beaulieu is white with the marina's emblem.

Ivan Sache, 1 November 2018

Yacht Club de Beaulieu-sur-Mer


Burgee of YCB - Image by Ivan Sache, 22 May 2006

The burgee of the YCB (website<) is made of four equal triangles, two red along the hoist, a white in the center and a blue at the point of the burgee.

Ivan Sache, 22 May 2006